***Editor’s Note: Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Office of Education Standards is conducting one-day ‘thematic visits’ to Cayman Islands schools in the Spring 2022 term in lieu of more in-depth inspections. (Click to expand.)
(Read our story on the decision here.) OES recently published the first batch of reports from these visits, which will eventually involve 31 government and private schools and culminate in a national report. The Current will publish a story on each individual school, as well as stories from a more comprehensive perspective.***
During the pandemic, the private school in George Town has invested extra resources into online learning, according to a letter to Calvary Baptist Acting Principal Tiffany Jeremiah from Chief Inspector Nicholas Sherriff.
“The Governors and senior leadership team were committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment for the school community and the continuation of learning for all students during the pandemic,” he said.
The visit occurred on 9 Feb. and the inspector’s summary is dated 10 Feb.
“We found no significant concerns” during the visit, Sherriff said.
Unlike full inspection reports, the inspectors do not assign graded judgments to schools as a result of the one-day visits. Inspectors conduct interviews with school leadership, teachers and administration, as well as reviewing documentation.
The school had implemented a new online version of the Abeka curriculum and had invested in more ‘streamed hours’ that allow students to access live or recorded lessons.
“Moreover, the system was able to show how much of the online lessons had been attended, including how much of the supporting resources had been used by individual students. However, a number of middle leaders remarked that despite the system and the data a number of students were just not showing up online when isolating and that attendance support from parents was needed,” the inspector said.
Attendance figures showed “a number of students had missed some considerable face to face time during the Pandemic”, he said.
Sherriff said, “Middle leaders in English, mathematics and science did report periodic learning loss linked to isolation and remote learning suggesting they were in a constant state of catching up.”
Like other schools, Calvary Baptist reported that it was difficult to hire new staff and bring them into Grand Cayman.
The school maintained a register of ‘at-risk’ students and incorporated mental wellness themes into education.
Oversight of staff well-being was “less formal”, but twice-per-week meetings were held where staff had the opportunity to discuss concerns and issues. Staff participated in out-of-school events together on a quarterly basis.
The school had implemented a number of public health guidelines in regard to COVID, such as temperature checks, hand sanitization, social distancing, individualised boxes of supplies for reception-age children, and regular cleaning of classrooms.
Leaders had collected significant data about the school but had not yet moved into the analysis phase.
“A school improvement plan was presented however it lacked the specific targets and
expectations that would support the correct identification and measurement of
improvement,” Sherriff said.